I can’t believe it’s Halloween time again! And I also can’t believe that three weeks ago I was in the South Australian Outback, mingling with kangaroos and emus, and making Quondong Pie! Now I’m back in San Diego getting ready for Halloween.
Living part of the year in South Australia, I notice a difference between American and Australian culture: Australians generally do not engage in trick-or-treating, whereas Americans certainly do. When I was growing up in Chula Vista, California, we used to go trick-or-treating door-to-door in our neighborhood and one of our favorite houses was one that offered us homemade Toffee Apples! Things have changed now- no homemade goodies are allowed anymore and children often go trick-or-treating in malls- even going to liquor stores like BevMo (which I saw last year)!
So, here is my recipe for Halloween Brownie Cupcakes. The bottom layer consists of a rich chocolate brownie and the top layer is made from a white cake mix with some orange food coloring mixed in. I made the bottom brownie layer from scratch, but you could also use a brownie mix if you wish. After the cupcakes are baked and then cooled, you add a delicious topping of Butter Cream Icing with orange and black sprinkles. And dear reader, where did you go trick-or-treating when you were growing up?
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate, melted
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1 white cake mix
- Several dashes of orange coloring
- Black and orange sprinkles for decoration
- ½ cup (1 stick) of salted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups of icing (confectioner’s) sugar
- 1 ½ tsp of vanilla flavoring
- 2 tbsps milk
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Combine the white sugar, melted butter, vanilla and 2 eggs and melted chocolate. Mix well with electric beaters. In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Fold the dry flour mixture into the melted chocolate mixture until well-combined. Pour the brownie mixture into each cupcake liner, filling each liner 1/3 to the top.
- Prepare the white cake mix as per the instructions on the package. Add 4-5 drops of the orange coloring and mix. Spoon the mixture on top of the brownie layer until the cupcake mixture comes to slightly below the rim of the cupcake liner. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cupcakes are cooked through and spring back to the touch. Let cool before adding the Butter Cream Icing (see below).
- Combine the softened butter and icing sugar using electric beaters. Add the vanilla flavoring and milk and stir. The mixture should be smooth and elastic, not too runny or dry. If the icing is too stiff, add a little more milk. Add the icing to a piping bag with a wide-tipped nozzle and pipe onto the top of the cupcakes using a swirling motion. Add the sprinkles and a few candy corn pieces (optional).
- Make sure the cupcakes are thoroughly cooled before adding the icing. To remove the cupcake liners from the cupcakes, first gently pull down the sides of each liner, then gently take a knife to release the bottom of the cupcake from the liner.